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One community wants BDUK to overbuild a previous project
Friday 20 September 2013 09:45:08 by Andrew Ferguson

Community broadband and the smaller nimble providers are often welcomed with open arms, but two years after sub-loop unbundling a cabinet in Essendine it appears that there is pressure from the local community for another solution.

The Parish Council meetings along with a public meeting attended by FibreLincs give the rough impression that there are various issues surrounding the FTTC service that Rutland Telecom is providing, ranging from the £150 set-up through to the lack of retail provider choice.

"There is much disquiet within the village concerning the decision by Rutland County Council to exclude Essendine from the "Digital Rutland" scheme, which is designed, with Government funding, to bring fast Broadband to all parts of Rutland.

Essendine Parish Council deplores this decision – we consider this to be discriminatory and contrary to the "competition" mantra, giving Rutland Telecom a virtual monopoly. British Telecom currently has no plans to extend its Broadband coverage."

Extract from Parish Council news for Essendine

Alas from our following of the BDUK process which was actually started by the previous Labour Government, areas that already have one commercial operator in them are excluded from further investment. The rules do allow some overlapping, e.g. if a postcode is served by two cabinets where one is commercially enabled, money can still be spent in the postcode. Alternatively if enabling a cabinet means a small proportion will then have a choice of two providers that is still OK, but a total overlay spending public money to raise competition level is not allowed. The exceptions would be if the commercial service is not providing the speeds the Councils project is designed to deliver. In theory if the 40 Mbps service from Rutland Telecom is only providing speeds of 10 Mbps to the majority, the council could intervene to increase speeds, but given the standard method of deploying a FTTC cabinet this would most likely not bring any further improvements.

The past three decades where Oftel and now Ofcom has worked to increase the level of retail competition in the UK telecoms market is now coming back to bite the smaller operators, as the public have become used to a wide choice of operators and being able to switch around to find the best deal.


Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
Following the 'Fibre Lincs' link - it sounds like there is a temporary issue that Rutland Telecom are going to fix:
"Finally, I am pleased to report that Rutland Telecom are confident they have found the root cause of the issues and will have Essendine surfing the Internet again at speed in a month or two. Fingers crossed!"
The Essendine residents should be grateful for what they have got as many people in remote areas will only ever get the 2Mbps service.

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
While it does look to be service based issues, reading the parish council notes, things like wholesale provision and cost of setup appear to enter into it too.

This does not look like a slow speeds for a couple of weeks issue.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
Openreach tech told me the Rutland don't put dial tone on the line, so fully unbundled SLU with VoIP telephony.

@zhango "in a month or two" doesn't sound great, in the surveys everyone said they would choose a differnet provider :-(
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
I recently had no phone for a week although I did have BB at .25Mbps which I was grateful for. I didn't slag off BT just because there was a temporary fault - it turned out to be an underground fault and it got fixed.
We don't actually know what download speeds the Essendine residents are getting but it is probably perfectly adequate for what they need it for.
Posted by Wiber over 4 years ago
The reason that there is an install fee of £150 is no doubt because nobody gave Rutland Telecom millions of pounds of public money 'for free' to roll out their system - they have to pay for the equipment and engineering themselves.
Sounds to me like Rutland Telecom chose to invest their own money and take risks where BT chose not to. As a result premises in that area that would have suffered very low speeds from BT now have access to considerably more speed.

Posted by Wiber over 4 years ago
Of course they have to pay an install per premises but nothing is 'free' - either the premises that want faster speeds pay a few pounds each or the tax payer pays a few million pounds for an FTTC system that probably won't be very effective.
Instead of handing out millions to BT for no returns and no guarantees of anything, why not give a few thousand to Rutland Telecom to help them overcome whatever issue they have - that would surely be cheaper, quicker and more effective.

Posted by Wiber over 4 years ago
I chose to live in a rural area and in doing so I have to accept that I won't have the same diverse consumer choices as my more urban or suburban friends. I don't have the choice of multiple major supermarkets unless I want to incur the cost and time of travelling some distance away. So I have to shop at my local mini supermarket, farm shops, 'spa' shops etc... and accept the price and choices that they offer
Posted by Wiber over 4 years ago
Due to my choice of location I cannot access mains sewage and I have to accept the costs and implications or operating a septic tank. After heavy storms or in times of snow etc... the local roads may be blocked or damaged and phone lines or power lines may come down affecting my ability to get around and enjoy 'normal services'. Some of my friends have no mains gas and have to bear costs and implications of bottled gas stores etc...

Posted by WWWombat over 4 years ago
I'll offer a reminder that BDUK are allowed to overbuild in an area covered by competition if the competition isn't affordable or sustainable.

For example, the East Yorkshire public consultation discounts satellite providers because of the high install costs making it unaffordable.

They report that the threshold for basic broadband is £100 install and £25 per month. For SFBB, the thresholds are £200 install and £30-£50 per month.

So at £150, Rutland are coming in at under the threshold, so BDUK cannot overbuild on those particular grounds.
Posted by Wiber over 4 years ago
We make our own choices regarding where we live and must accept the implications of those choices. If we choose to live in an area where it's unviable, uneconomic and unpractical to commercially upgrade and maintain FTTC systems then we won't have the same choices of ISP as some other people - but we knew that choices would be 'restricted' for all sorts of things when we chose that rural area to live in diddn't we?

Posted by Wiber over 4 years ago
If a local provider has identified and commercially funded an economically viable solution where no other provider was prepared to invest their money then locals should be grateful for the millions of pounds that their local authority has not had to give to BT - and can instead spend on essential local services like education, healthcare etc...

Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago - Rutland beat BT to providing FTTC at Essendine, so BT didn't bother when their commercial rollout of the Stamford exchange came along and served similar villages.

Rutland's connection charge for a monthly contract service isn't out of order compared to similar BT based services at £40 - £80 + router cost + VAT.
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
@Wiber: great to hear someone else using the same line of argument I've made for ages. There's no reason people who live in rural areas should expect the same level of broadband service as city dwellers any more than they expect to receive other services. They certainly shouldn't expect taxpayers' money to be spend subsidising their broadband. Rural living comes with some advantages and some disadvantages, broadband speed being one of the latter. People make choices depending on what's important to them.
Posted by mdar5 over 4 years ago
People living in upmarket rural villages have better things to do with their lives than surfing the net, downloading half the internet, and watching cats on you tube.
So for most of them superfast broadband is not really a pressing issue
Posted by fastman over 4 years ago
mdar5 -- i spent most of my lfiew working with rural villages to find ways of extinding NGA into such locaitons -= its one of the primary issues -- the abibilty to work from home / get homework done / sell the house = buy a house all og these above are inpacted by superfast broadband
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